FAITHFUL IN ARCHDIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES TO HONOR OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE WITH THEATER, MUSIC, ANNUAL PROCESSION AND MASSES
–Festivities include the play “Virgen de Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin” Dec. 1-2; Procession and Mass in East L.A. Dec. 3, and a tribute at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Dec. 11, eve of her feast day–
After nearly 30 visits of the images of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego to parishes and cemeteries, starting at St. Catherine of Alexandria parish in Catalina Island in October, faithful in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles are preparing for December festivities to honor the Virgin of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego that culminate with a tribute to the Virgin on the eve of her Feast Day. The celebrations will start with the play, “Virgen de Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin,” at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (Dec. 1-2), Procession and Mass to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe in East L.A. (Dec. 3), and will end with the musical tribute and Mass at the Cathedral (Dec. 11 evening to Dec. 12 midnight).
“This year is the 492nd anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe! This is the true founding of America,” said Archbishop José H. Gomez. “The Virgin came to bring Jesus — not only to Mexico, but to all the Americas. This country, every country in North and South America, is under her mantle, under her loving protection and care. We thank God and we dedicate ourselves again to Mary’s mission of bringing Jesus to our country and all people.”
The Latino Theater returns to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels with its live play, “La Virgen de Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin,” the company’s signature holiday theatrical production since 2002. The play features more than 100 actors, singers and indigenous Aztec dancers, children, and seniors from the community. The pageant reveals the story of St. Juan Diego, a simple peasant to whom the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe appeared on four occasions in 1531 in the hill of Tepeyac, near Mexico City. The play was adapted by Evelina Fernández from the mid-16th century text, The Nican Mopohua. For more information, visit https://www.latinotheaterco.org/lavirgen.
A pilgrimage of the Virgin’s and St. Juan Diego’s images to parishes and cemeteries throughout the counties of L.A., Santa Barbara and Ventura from Oct. 20-Dec. 3 serves as a spiritual preparation for the faithful leading up to the 92nd Procession and Mass honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe, the oldest religious procession in Los Angeles. The procession, to be held this year on Sunday, Dec. 3 with the theme “Holy Mary of Guadalupe, path of the life and hope,” was established in 1931 by Mexican Catholics who fled persecution by the Mexican government during the Cristero War.
La Peregrina, a pilgrim image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, is an exact digital reproduction of the original image in Mexico City’s Basilica, which has been blessed and touched to the original image. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and one of St. Juan Diego were gifts hand-delivered to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in the early 2000s by Monsignor Diego Monroy, then Rector of Our Lady of Guadalupe Basilica in Mexico City. Her image has been a symbol of unity, peace, compassion, and hope for people around the world.
For photos from the Oct. 20-Dec. 3 pilgrimage visits, information about the 2023 procession and mass to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego, and to contribute with donations to this year’s Procession and Mass, please visit lacatholics.org/guadalupe.
A special exhibit, “Guadalupe Tonantzin: Guía y camino hacia el niño Jesús” (Guadalupe Tonantzin: Guide and path towards the child Jesus) by sacred artist Lalo Garcia, featuring 10 art pieces, will open to the public from November 30 through January 5, 2024 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Located adjacent to the chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, which houses the only known relic of the tilma or cloak of St. Juan Diego in the U.S., the exhibit features a 30×40 acrylic on canvas, “Protectora de migrantes” (Protector of migrants) representing the Virgin protecting monarch butterflies —known as a universal symbol of migration— in the same way a mother protects her own children.
The annual celebration at Cathedral will begin at 6 p.m. with indigenous and folkloric dancers and free seasonal treats on the Cathedral Plaza, and veneration of the relic of the tilma of St. Juan Diego, on which the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared 492 years ago. The Cathedral is home to the only relic of the tilma outside of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. At 10 p.m., the celebration continues inside the Cathedral with a special Rosary with the participation of local talents and personalities. The musical tribute, or serenata, begins at 11 p.m., with guest singers invited to serenade the Virgin and sing “Las Mañanitas,” a traditional Mexican birthday song to honor the Virgin on her Feast Day. The program will be in Spanish and the festivities will culminate with midnight Mass in Spanish celebrated by Archbishop José H. Gomez.
The celebrations recall the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to St. Juan Diego at Tepeyac, Mexico, in December 1531, when she left her image on his tilma, or cloak. The relic, or piece of the tilma inside the Cathedral was a present to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles from the Archbishop of Mexico City in appreciation and friendship after Los Angeles Archbishop John J. Cantwell led a pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City in the early 1940s. Given the natural agave fibers used to make the tilma, experts say it is miraculous that the relic at the Cathedral in Los Angeles, and the rest of the tilma in Mexico City, have survived for almost five centuries.
For more information, visit lacatholics.org/guadalupe, #GuadalupeLA and https://lacatholics.org/event/las-mananitas-a-la-virgen-de-guadalupe/.